Organised by Sports Journalists' Federation of India, the first Indian Sports Journalism Awards for excellence in sports writing, photography and television feature were recently concluded in Mumbai. India Today's Senior Editor, Sharda Ugra walked away with the Indian sports writer of the year award.
Sunil Gavaskar and Nandu Natekar presented the top awards. The panel of three judges for the English category, which includes historian and biographer Ramchandra Guha, former World amateur billiards champion Michael Ferreira and Chandra Nayydu, daughter of the legendary Col. C K Nayudu, chose Ugra ahead of The Hindu's sports editor, Nirmal Shekar, and The Times of India's Akshay Sawai. Sawai has moved to The Hindustan Times and will head its sports department in Mumbai.
Loksatta's Vijay Salvi was declared the Indian Sports Writer-Marathi, Munal Chattopadhyay was Indian Sports Writer-Bengali, Rakesh Thapliyal was awarded the Indian Sports Writer- Hindi and Mid Day's Ashish Raje was the Indian Sports Photographer of the year.
The Hindustan Times' Kadambari Murali won the news story and cricket writer awards, while The Statesman's Mario Rodrigues won the feature story award. While Mid-Day's Clayton Murzello won the offbeat story award, Wisden Asia Cricket's Anand Vasu won the Interview (Q & A) award. For best of agency stories, Biju Babu Cyriac of Press Trust of India, New Delhi, won the award.
For photography, Virendra Singh of The Hindustan Times won the award for best action picture on the field, while Ashish Raje of Mid-Day won the best news picture off the field award.
The Sports personalities attending the function comprised Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid, Ajit Agarkar, S S Narayan, Nandu Natekar, Derek D 'Souza, Joaquim Carvalho, Mervyn Fernandes, Viren Rasquinha, Anuja Thakur, Sanjay Sharma, Uday Pawar, Ami Ghia-Shah, Sujata Jain, Niraj Bajaj, Kamlesh Metha, Monalisa Metha, Devendra Joshi, Michael Ferreira, Gaurav Natekar and Ashok Pandit.